The Weekly E-Share -- October 31, 2006


This week only the weekly e-share will be available here. Enjoy!

From the Editor:This week, enjoy true fall and winter vegetables of cauliflower and kale. White russian kale is a curly kale with white midribs and delicate flavor. It would be excellent simply sauteed in olive oil and garlic and served over pasta or rice. It's nice to have sweet potatoes to bake or steam, and the last of beans are coming our way, it seems. Enjoy the ever-crispening weather, and see you at distribution!

This Week's Share: sweet potato, green beans, broccoli or cauliflower, white russian kale; honey will be either next week or the following week

Astoria is building another CSA!
(from Jayme W.)

Interested in seeing another CSA in Astoria perhaps closer to where you live? A group of people are organizing now to bring another CSA to Astoria for next year. The target location is in the Broadway/Steinway/35th Avenue area (Lower Astoria) with the final location yet to be determined. Come help organize and plan for Astoria's new CSA!

A planing meeting will be held at 8:00pm Monday 11/6 at Cafe Bar.
Cafe Bar is on the corner of 34th Avenue and 36th Street.

You may also sign up for the mailing list, bringing this new CSA to life, by sending an e-mail to

Friendly words of reassurance, Hellgate CSA will continue into next year with the Freeze Peach Cafe still planned as the distribution spot in the Ditmars area. As most of you know, Hellgate CSA is operating at full capacity this year (we're full) and we are maintaining a looooong waiting list of neighbors who would like to join that we simply don't have the space (or veggies) to accommodate. Another CSA for Astoria would serve Astoria well in not only giving more CSA choice but in giving more people access to a CSA both by bringing in new members from Lower Astoria and offsetting some of Hellgate CSA's current demand. The new CSA may also be close to home for some of you! Hellgate CSA enthusiastically welcomes another CSA to Astoria and encourages any and all interested in CSA building, particularly in Lower Astoria to sign up for the mailing list and go to the meeting. CSA's are good for Astoria!

Reminder About Distribution Hours

This Tuesday we are again adhering to normally scheduled distribution hours. Regular weekly hours are from 5:30 to 7:30 and we ask that you pick up only after distribution officially begins (at 5:30). Please respect the time donated by your fellow volunteers and do not jump the gun prior to 5:30.

Need Volunteers

We need a few seasoned (no pun intended...okay, it was) volunteers to help show the ropes to people who have not volunteered during distribution yet. You would not need to be there for the entire distribution, but it would be helpful to arrive in time to help set up and explain how things work. E-mail if you are interested.

Haven't volunteered yet? Sign up for your volunteer shift by e-mailing And check the calendar for available time slots.

Just Food Action Alert: You Can Make a Difference in a New York Minute!

What's at stake? Revisions Proposed: The Federal Women, Infant and Children (WIC) Program provides a food and nutrition benefit to low-income, nutritionally at-risk women and children. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has proposed revisions which will improve the nutritional quality WIC "food packages".

Healthier diet for WIC recipients: The proposed revisions would increase the value of fruit and vegetable vouchers distributed by almost $500 million per year. Good news for family farmers: The proposed revision would allow WIC recipients to purchase produce at farmers' markets.

What's the timeline? Comments are due by November 6th.

What should I do? Voice your support for REF Docket ID Number 0584-AD77

For ideas, see the sample letter now posted on our website,

Send you comments via regular mail to:
Patricia Daniels, Director
Supplemental Food Programs Division
3101 Park Center Drive, Room 528
Alexandria, VA 22302
RE: Docket ID Number 0584-AD77

Or, through the USDA website:

How can I learn more? You may review the entire proposed WIC food packages regulations at:

Green Brooklyn Conference

On Thursday November 9th from 11:30- 5:30 the Brooklyn Center for the Urban Environment will be holding the 2nd Annual Green Brooklyn Conference. The event is FREE and open to the public. Special guest speaker is Jeffrey Hollender, President/CEO of Seventh Generation. Visit for more information.

Cauliflower: History

Cauliflower traces its ancestry to the wild cabbage, a plant thought to have originated in ancient Asia Minor, which resembled kale or collards more than the vegetable that we now know it to be.

The cauliflower went through many transformations and reappeared in the Mediterranean region, where it has been an important vegetable in Turkey and Italy since at least 600 B.C.

It gained popularity in France in the mid-16th century and was subsequently cultivated in Northern Europe and the British Isles. The United States, France, Italy, India and China are countries that produce significant amounts of cauliflower.


Tips for preparing cauliflower

Cauliflower florets are the part of the plant that most people eat. However, the stem and leaves are edible too and are especially good for adding to soup stocks.

To cut cauliflower, first remove the outer leaves and then slice the florets at the base where they meet the stalks. You can further cut them, if you desire pieces that are smaller or of uniform size. Trim any brown coloration that may exist on the edges.

Cauliflower contains phytonutrients that release odorous sulfur compounds when heated. These odors become stronger with increased cooking time. If you want to minimize odor, retain the vegetable's crisp texture, and reduce nutrient loss, cook the cauliflower for only a short time.

Some phytonutrients may react with iron in cookware and cause the cauliflower to take on a brownish hue. To prevent this, add a bit of lemon juice to the water in which you blanche the cauliflower.


Aloo Gobi

1/2 pound potatoes
1 cauliflower
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 green chile -- chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin -- roasted
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper

Boil the potatoes in their jackets and allow them to cool completely. (Day-old cooked potatoes that have been refrigerated work very well for this dish.) Peel the potatoes and cut them into 3/4 inch (2cm) dice.

Break up the cauliflower into chunky flowerets, about 1-1/2 inches (4cm) across at the head and about 1-1/2 inches (4cm) long. Soak the flowerets in a bowl of water for 30 minutes. Drain.

Heat the oil in a large, preferably non-stick frying pan over a medium flame. When hot, put in the whole cumin seeds. Let the seeds sizzle for 3-4 seconds. Now put in the cauliflower and stir it about for 2 minutes. Let the cauliflower brown in spots. Cover, turn the heat to low and simmer for about 4-6 minutes or until the cauliflower is almost done but still has a hint of crispness left.

Put in the diced potatoes, ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, green chile, ground roasted cumin, salt, and some black pepper. Stir gently to mix. Continue to cook uncovered on low heat for another 3 minutes or until potatoes are heated through. Stir gently as you do so.


Sweet Potato Pie

1 pound sweet potatoes
1/4 cup butter
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch single crust pie
1 egg
2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon maple flavored extract
1 cup chopped pecans

Boil sweet potato whole in skin for 40 to 50 minutes until done. Run cold water over the sweet potato, and remove the skin. Break apart in a large bowl.

Melt 1/4 cup butter or margarine, and pour it in the bowl with the sweet potatoes. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Blend in sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon, orange rind, vanilla, nutmeg, salt, and 1 egg. Pour into the unbaked crust.

Bake at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) for 20 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

While the pie is baking, prepare the topping. Mix together 1 egg, corn syrup, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon melted butter, maple flavoring, and pecans. Mix thoroughly. Sprinkle over pie.

Bake for another 25 minutes until set.


Sweet Potato Trivia: In episode 3X20 of The X-Files, Agent Fox Mulder is seen progressively eating an entire sweet potato pie.

Spicy Sweet Potato & Coconut Soup

1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, rinsed
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 Tbsp red curry paste
1 15-oz can unsweetened coconut milk
3 cups vegetable broth
3 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup fresh cilantro sprigs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put the sweet potatoes in (right on the rack) and bake for about 45 minutes, or until tender. Remove from oven and let cool.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute the onion and ginger for about 5 minutes, or until the onion softens. Stir in the curry paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the coconut milk and broth (this is where I found the whisk came in handy) and gently bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so that it's just simmering, cover partially, and cook for 5 minutes.

Skin the sweet potatoes and cut into 1-inch chunks. Add them to the soup and cook for 5 more minutes.

Stir in the lemon juice and the salt. Put the soup into some bowls, drizzle with the sesame oil and throw a bit of cilantro on top.

[source: (great vegan recipes! -ed)]

Creamy White Bean and Kale Soup
(White Russian kale has white or light green stems and ribs. It has a delicate, sweet flavor.)

1 1/2 cups navy beans, cleaned and sorted, soaked overnight
3 quarts water
1 bay leaf
3 - 4 sage leaves, fresh or dried
2 large cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups finely diced yellow onions
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
6 - 8 cups kale, stemmed and chopped to spoon size Cream to finish (optional)

Simmer beans in 3 quarts of water with the bay leaf, sage, and whole garlic cloves until the beans are completely soft, about 2 1/2 hours.

Remove one quarter of the cooked beans, puree them in a food mill or blender, then return them to the pot. The puree will give the soup a creamy background texture.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet, add the onions, then cook until transparent. When soft, add the yeast, a teaspoon of salt, and several grindings of pepper. Stir frequently to prevent the yeast from sticking to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes then add the mixture to the cooked beans.

Cook the kale in the remaining oil until it is wilted. Combine with the beans and add enough water to bring the volume to about 3 quarts. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour.

Check the seasonings and finish the soup with a little cream, if desired.

[source: Tassajara Recipe Book by Edward Espe Brown]

Did You Know? Easy Ways to Learn and Get Involved

If you want to turn your personal concern for the quality of your food and the food system into simple, effective advocacy for national change, the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture can help you do it. Join the National Campaign's E-mail Action Alert List! They'll make it easy for you to speak out when your voice is needed most to push for federal agriculture policy that supports sound farming by family farmers, instead of federal subsidies to corporate giants.

Go online to to join the National Campaign's e-mail list, and learn more. Get involved, and support our effort to develop a new direction in federal policy that makes sense for both people and the land. It can be done, but it will take all of us speaking out together!

While you're at it, check out two National Campaign partner organizations. The Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group approaches federal agriculture policy and other food system issues from a Northeast perspective (, and the Community Food Security Coalition ( takes a national lead on community food security, school food and farm to school issues.